Bareback

Easily being one of the most frowned upon yet most commonly practiced sexual acts in man’s history, bareback sex is known as performing sexual intercourse with or without penetration involved, whilst not using sexual protection such as a condom. It is important to note that bareback does not include the accidental breakage of condoms but is known and the intentional passing of the option itself.

Term Usage

While the term has many different common terms and interpretations, the most common is known as “rawdog.” However the technical term of bareback originated from the true meaning of the word itself in the context of equestrian horse riding, in which a rider would ride the horse without using a conventional saddle, ironically making the activity a lot more rough and potentially dangerous. It is important to note that bareback does not include the accidental breakage of condoms but is known and the intentional passing of the option itself. While this original association’s roots are unknown, it is widely believed that the word became popular throughout the 60s within a military context, which is known to have brought about many other sexual act references, including baseball metaphors for sex. Many soldiers that were fighting in the Vietnam would often discuss their sex lives back home and mask their activities with made up but commonly known terms which probably included bareback. The word seemed to have traveled back to the United States and was commonly used in niche taboo communities during that time period including gay couples.

Initial Rationale

To understand why bareback sex became so popular despite its danger, one must understand the sex culture history of the 1980s. While condoms were initially being advertised as being extremely effective against preventing sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, many people saw these advertising and public announcements as ploys against the gay community to encourage them to now engage in sexual acts all together. As a result, out of rebellion, many males wanted to intentionally forego the condom, and would label themselves as barebackers.

After this initial push by the gay community, the movement slowly but surely made its way into national news publications and became a central conversation in both the lifestyle community as well as the medical health community. In a way these news publications seemed to go against the medical community and promote the act of barebacking by claiming that foregoing the condom doesn’t drastically increase the chances of transmitting or contracting a disease and ultimately gives the couple a new surge in sexual excitement and a way to escape the monotony and boredom of a typical safe sex lifestyle. The porn industry also seemed to further this argument with very little numbers of male porn starts utilizing condoms.

While the medical community was initially fighting back against this movement for obvious medical risk reasons, drug companies eventually realized that this movement would likely not die down, and instead found a way to profit off the rebellious members of the gay community as consumers. New medical drugs popped up such as Truvada, that utilizes pre exposure prophylaxis to limit the spread and fruition of the HIV virus. By advertising these drugs, pharmaceutical companies in a way contributed to the proliferation of barebacking.

In response to many of these promotional forces, in the late 80s, barebacking exploded and became commonplace among men, especially men within the gay community. According to research that over half of the men aware of the sexual act of barebacking had been practicing it on a regular basis. In fact many men would engage in what is known as bugchasing, the act of actively pursuing the contraction and spread of the HIV virus, the primary rationale being that the virus will eventually be caught and there is no use fearing it for the duration of their lives.

Eventually, however, as the awareness and further medically documented risks of AIDS and HIV became common knowledge, pressure began to be placed upon the gay community and pornographic film industry to utilize condoms at a much higher level. While initially faced with lash back, eventually condoms became commonplace throughout the 90s. However, as condoms became thinner and thinner, many porn companies would bring them back into the picture, making sure they aren’t as visible and appearing to be not used at all in the films.

Heterosexual vs. Homosexual

Many have wondered what the differences are between gay and straight couples in terms of their rebellion or submission to the risks and frowned upon behavior of practicing bareback sex. According to research, many more homosexual couples are rebellious to the idea of practicing safe sex relative to those who are couples with a man and woman. There are a few logical reasons for this separation in statistics. Women run the risk of becoming pregnant when practicing unsafe sex, and this risk can be greatly reduced when the male partner uses a condom. The vagina is a lot more fertile and susceptible to disease transmission than the anus in the case of gay couple sex, and thus has more weight when deciding whether or not to forego the use of a condom.

Additional Resources

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bug-chasing-men-deliberately-trying-2033433

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/the-human-condition-johnny-be-good-1166398.html

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/04/23/survey-finds-more-straight-women-barebacking-than-gay-men/